Rustic Pathways | Cambodia

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Cambodia is a country with a painful past and a hopeful future. Rustic Pathways has partnered with social enterprises and local community development organizations since 1999 to help students gain a deep understanding of the beautiful, complex realities of Cambodia. Our staff members are skilled at teaching while keeping it fun, and students often leave with a changed perspective on their own lives.

The ancient temples of Angkor Wat are jaw-dropping, the rural countryside shimmers with brilliant green rice fields, and the incredibly friendly locals are eager to show you around. Amongst the beauty, you’ll also be exposed to the pressing social and economic issues facing the country. The contrast can be shocking, but it can also be positively transformational.

Questions & Answers


based on 22 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 16 - 22 of 22
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Great time!

One of the best experiences i had. The staff were great the service work was fantastic and educational. The main drawback was the high cost of the trip and flying with rustic pathways was very expensive.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Cambodia Children's Project

This experience was one of the most exciting, fascinating, and rewarding things I have ever done in my life. Being able to travel to such a far distance from home and still feel welcomed by the leaders and by the community was an amazing part of this trip. I learned so much about the Cambodian culture, and I've honestly fallen in love with this country thanks to Rustic. I'm planning on studying abroad in Cambodia in college, and I'm taking another trip with Rustic this summer!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Cambodia Orphanage Project

I don't think I have ever connected and had as much fun with kids in my life. Even with a language barrier, I still made best friends for life that I will definitely one day have to go back and see once again. Monks and Rustic Pathways staff were amazing, food was incredible, and everything about Cambodia that we saw made me crave more experiences exactly like it. I think I learned more in my 11 days in the State then a whole year at school. Just simply breathtaking!

Response from Rustic Pathways

Wonderful to hear you had such a positive experience in Cambodia with us. We strongly believe these programs are powerful educational opportunities, and it's great to hear you thought so as well! Thank you for the review.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Cambodia: Off the Map

Junior year, my best friend and I decided to do a trip with rustic pathways. I had really hoped to do an environmentally focused trip however my friend had a different idea. He wanted to explore more of the social, historical and cultural aspects of Cambodia. As an open personal I agreed to doing the Off the Map trip instead (thank goodness I did!)

The trip really did take us through Cambodia exposing us to the beauty it had to offer. We explored the rugged jungle on elephants, walked along the Rabbit Island's sandy beaches, shopped in the urban markets of Phnom Penh, toured the French colonial city of Kampot, watched for dolphins on a river tour, taught Cambodian orphans English, helped to build a new library, hiked up Bokor mountain, visited the world famous temple, Angkor Wat and visited the killing fields. The trip without a doubt made 2011 the best summer of my life.

Yes, I recommend this program
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The Amazing Place Crammed between Thailand and Vietnam

After the painful 36 hours of flying to the other side of the world, I finally landed in the exotic lands of Southeast Asia. With swollen ankles and tired eyes, the Rustic Pathways groups split apart and were welcomed to Phnom Penh by the ironically named Mr. Thai and a young, shy Khmer man named Sokheng.

After resting for the night in a hotel that exceeded my expectations, the group embarked on the first day of the trip to Rabbit Island. A 3 or so hour drive to the coast, followed by a 20 minute boat ride brought us to the quiet, secluded bungalows and beaches of Rabbit Island. The rooms consisted of a mattress and a mosquito net, and the quietness of the whole scene made for a peaceful break from the developed world.

The couple days following we strolled through the French influenced town of Kampot. Massages from the blind and testing of traditional Khmer foods ensued. Just on the outskirts of town is Cambodia's tallest mountain, Bokor Mountain. We rode in open bed trucks to see the developing resort site, but further along the road was a trip into Cambodia's colonial history with a dilapidated French casino and church.

We returned to Phnom Penh after Kampot and this is where we delved into the dark recent history of Cambodia. We visited the S-21 Genocide Museum and The Killing Fields. We saw second hand the terror of the Khmer Rouge. Although the sites were depressing, seeing the rising skyline of Phnom Penh indicates a bright future for the nation in one of the world's fastest growing regions of the world.

The longest drive of the trip brought the group to Mondulkiri -- a remote town in the mountains of Cambodia. However, along the way our group got a taste of the infamous fried tarantulas -- taste a bit like terriyaki beef jerky, so I recommend taking a sample! In Mondulkiri we rode elephants through the trails viewing the less crowded side of Cambodia, and we enjoyed the tranquility of a riverside lunch and a show of elephants cleaning themselves.
A few days later we made our way to Kratie to see the dwindling population of river dolphins. While there were some hectic scenes of bumper boats, we still witnessed these endangered creatures in their homes in the Mekong.

The next stay of the trip was the most meaningful, we built the foundation of a library for an orphanage in Kampong Cham. We worked and played games with the orphans, and they even showed us their English skills by reading children's books. The orphanage is still developing, and Rustic Pathways has really started something special there!

The grand finale of our trip was in Siem Reap. Here we walked into the ancient temples of the Khmer Empire. While Angkor Wat is the most famous, the surrounding temples are just as awe-inspiring and made a fantastic last visit for the trip. After the temples, Mr. Thai took us on a surprise trip to a waterfall in the mountains surrounding Siem Reap. There were few tourists in the area and the beautiful falls also made a nice swimming hole underneath.
All in all, Cambodia: Off the Map helped make summer 2011 easily the best summer of my life. While the sites and food are fun aspects of the country, the wonderful, kind people make it a truly special place that anyone should try to visit!

Yes, I recommend this program
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The most influential experience of my life.

We we working hands-on and together with the staff of the program,which included locals, each-other, and the people of the community. The work was interactive and rewarding, as well as fun. It was clear that we were really making differences for individuals as well as the whole of the community. I defiantly felt immersed in another culture and gained many new understandings of other ways of life then the one I am accustomed to.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Loved it! Would go again in a heart beat!

I went to Cambodia, on an Orphanage trip during the summer of 2010, and I loved very second of it. Rustic was a wonderful program and offered a lot of financial aid which made my trip possible. They made it really simple to connect separate programs and go from one country to another. Travelling was a little mind numbing, but that is the only negative experience I had during my entire trip. As a young teen traveling by myself, I was nervous before I left, but I always felt safe and looked after while abroad. We stayed in a hotel, which offered a cool space to sleep with a television and a much welcomed clean shower. Internet was only a 5 minutes walk down the road and we always travelled with supervision. We worked at the orphanage each morning until mid afternoon; it was hard work but always well appreciated. During my trip, we built a stage of tile, so that the children could put on recitals to raise money for the orphanage; rebuilt roads that had sunk and flooded, worked in the rice paddies and also spent a lot of time bonding with the children there. We were also given the opportunity to visit some popular tourists sites and learn a lot about the Cambodian culture. It's a truly wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone.

Yes, I recommend this program


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Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on...